Benefit-Cost Analysis: Past and Future Directions

by Ted R. Miller, Urban Inst, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Highway Safety: At the Crossroads


As implemented at the State level, highway resource allocation models fail to consider the travel time delay and crashes that result from construction. They use the economic costs of crashes - most often numbers from the National Safety Council or NHTSA - as the benefit measure. Since rational safety investment levels are an order of magnitude larger, this practice substantially reduces the backlog of safety projects that would be cost-beneficial to undertake. Highway engineers and safety professionals need to exert greater leadership, actively estimating countermeasure effectiveness and identifying and refuting faulty analyses. They need to broaden public debate about the countermeasures available and their potential interaction.

Subject Headings: Benefit cost ratios | Traffic accidents | Infrastructure construction | Travel time | Risk management | Highways and roads | Traffic safety | Resource allocation

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